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Navigating the Crude Cycle: Opportunities for Midstream Energy Companies

Amid volatile oil prices, North American midstream energy companies are being presented with unique opportunities. The challenge: to seize the moment and take purposeful action to build agile organizations that can perform successfully in any cycle.

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Navigating the Crude Cycle: Opportunities for Midstream Energy Companies

  1. 1. Copyright © 2015 Accenture All rights reserved. Navigating the Crude Cycle 3 strategic actions for North American midstream energy companies Seizing opportunities to expand and realize improved results from agility
  2. 2. Copyright © 2015 Accenture All rights reserved. Reverse the decline of shareholder returns Despite low prices for crude, revenue streams continue to flow to companies that process natural gas and transport and store crude oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids. Midstream companies, however, need to reverse the decline of returns experienced from 2012 to 2014. In addition, they need to be mindful of change affecting other sectors, particularly upstream, and manage volume and credit risks.
  3. 3. Prime areas of opportunity In the current environment, Accenture has identified three major areas of opportunity for midstream leaders: Copyright © 2015 Accenture All rights reserved. Expand the footprint. Adopt agile operating models. Emphasize safe and reliable operations.
  4. 4. Expand the footprint. Low oil prices have shaken exploration and production companies, resulting in increased mergers and acquisitions activities. These in turn are creating opportunities for midstream companies to add to their asset bases. The winners will move decisively with an eye to rebalancing portfolios rather than bargain-hunting. Copyright © 2015 Accenture All rights reserved.
  5. 5. Copyright © 2015 Accenture All rights reserved. Expand strategically • Diversify the asset portfolio, geographically by basin and along the value chain. • Add product interconnects and transportation, particularly in light of lower-priced feedstocks for downstream companies. • Market additional storage capacity, but optimize existing facilities before adding capacity.
  6. 6. Adopt agile operating models. Nimble operating models enable faster adaptation to external market changes. Such a model is characterized by a core platform with “plug and play” capabilities for adding and shedding of assets, businesses, capabilities and services. It allows for rapid reconfiguration of contract portfolios and better risk management. The ability to flex with commodity price cycles enables businesses to turn price volatility into an advantage. Copyright © 2015 Accenture All rights reserved.
  7. 7. Copyright © 2015 Accenture All rights reserved. Strategic agility Assuming lower prices are the new normal, scenario planning—with time horizons ranging from six to 18 months—can help companies adapt faster to business change. An agile mindset is needed to: • Capture differential plays for natural gas liquids, lightly processed crude, products and numerous blends. • Modify pipelines or segments to bi-directional flows to increase flexibility and optionality. • Plan for export possibilities depending on regulatory change.
  8. 8. Agility for risk management Nimble operating models and processes can also help midstream companies: • Actively manage commodity price risk. • Anticipate changes in upstream capital projects. • Manage credit risks. • Shift to fee-based arrangements. Copyright © 2015 Accenture All rights reserved.
  9. 9. Emphasize safe and reliable operations. Lower oil prices and safety incidents involving rail transport are likely to speed development of pipelines— intelligent pipelines, in particular. Digital technologies and the Industrial Internet can integrate internal asset data with operational and integrity data, along with external weather data and one-call tickets. There are effective ways to view pipeline assets, enhance situational awareness and run predictive analytics at scale. Copyright © 2015 Accenture All rights reserved.
  10. 10. Copyright © 2015 Accenture All rights reserved. Safety and reliability depend on people Cost control needs to be balanced with attracting and retaining the right people. Consider luring experienced people unemployed in other sectors, or still employed yet receptive to making a change. To gain approval for pipeline expansion projects, the industry needs to emphasize safety and operational excellence.
  11. 11. Copyright © 2015 Accenture All rights reserved. Pursuing high performance Price volatility and portfolio realignments in energy are increasing prospects for acquisition and expansion in the midstream segment of the industry. Nimble operating models can help leaders enhance adaptability, creating agile organizations that can better navigate the crude and natural gas cycles for high performance.
  12. 12. Copyright © 2015 Accenture All rights reserved. Get the full report: www.accenture.com/energy/midstream Follow us @AccentureEnergy

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